It seems as though even from infancy we are drawn toward things that will cause us harm, and treat those trying to protect us as if they are boring, mean, or have lost touch with our needs. We are self-centred and stubborn from very early on. Whether you believe humans are inherently sinful or that we are corrupted by bad influences, it certainly doesn’t take long for that helpless infant to start biting the hand (and other things) that feed it.
Alexis is a very clever baby there is no doubt about it. She is, in my biassed opinion, also very cute. She uses this clever mind, cheeky disposition, and infectious smile to get away with just about anything. She knows one little giggle melts the hardest heart.
I try to not squash her exploration attempts unless I absolutely have to. I want her to feel secure and independent and don’t want to desensitise her to the word no. I might be too late though. Sometimes when she does something she knows is cheeky she looks to make sure I’m watching first. If I say “no bubba” she looks at me, says “o” and goes back to what she was doing, so I’d say she knows at least those times, that she is being naughty. If she does something dangerous to herself or another child I have to pick her up take her away. Her attention span is far better than mine. She is extremely difficult to distract.
I am well aware that the best thing for all of us its to have the house as tidy, organised and child friendly as possible so she can roam. That is great in theory but I am lagging behind, chasing my own tail, trying to tackle new projects but having trouble mastering the day to day. We should well and truly have the house baby proofed by now. Yes, well, we thought we did. There problem is she was too fast for us. We got everything off the floor while she was learning to crawl, but she was not content to leave it at crawling for a while. The very next day after she crawled she learned to stand. We do not have high furniture, so there are not many places she can’t reach. It feels like I’m always playing catch up. She is fascinated by things I never thought she would notice, or the wind blew something around, or a bag left half unpacked, or my husband was just being lazy or absent minded (I love you darling, really, but you do tend to dump and run). It doesn’t help that Alexis gets into places that we naively thought she could not yet get into. Whenever I feel like I’m making progress we go away on holidays or buy new things or are given a new present or she is able to reach a little higher. And she’s learning to climb.
Really even if the place was tidy I would still have to be on guard, we’re near the bush, small stones and insects are a way of life, they just magically appear, really they do.
What I need to do, probably, is gain perspective. The poisons are out of harms way, as are the sharp things, and the heavy blunt objects. Is it really a big deal if she eats a tissue or coupon occasionally? It’s probably not going to hurt her too badly to fall from whatever she’s trying to climb as long as she doesn’t pull something hard, heavy or smashy on top of herself. Then I can save rescue operations for when she’s head butting glass doors (she thinks it’s funny), trying to climb into the toilet bowl, trying to jump off the change table, trying to bite her cousin, or making a beeline for the oven. There are times when I have to pull rank and be the mean old mother who spoils her fun. I shrug off the tantrums, knowing that I am only doing what is best for her because I love her. She cannot understand now, in fact she probably won’t fully understand until she has children of her own, but I have a responsibility as a parent.
I am starting to imagine how God might feel when He looks at me. “How do I let her grow, mature, explore, form her own sense of identity, and learn on her own, without letting her get hurt? I can’t stop her getting hurt all the time. Especially when I can’t interfere with free will.” Does God get frustrated when He tries to guide me in the right direction and I don’t listen? When I’m too busy having fun to notice what I’m doing is something He’s warned me isn’t good? Does He get angry with me when I argue with Corey even though I know He has commanded me to respect my husband? Does it hurt Him when He knows I am getting myself into something that is only going to hurt me or others but I blatantly disobey his gentle “no”. Yes, I think it must.
Does that make him stop loving me? No. Just like I love my daughter Alexis and would give anything for her, He loves me, His daughter, and has already given everything for me. He died for me, what more proof do I need? No matter how many tantrums I throw, my God loves me. He created me, He formed me, He delights in watching me grow. When He disciplines me its because He loves me and wants the best for me. I don’t know why but I couldn’t understand this kind of unconditional love, until I had a child of my own.